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Can an executor’s bond be waived in California?

On Behalf of | Sep 27, 2023 | Estate Planning

A personal representative/executor will manage an estate when probate time comes. They will be in charge of money and assets – they will pay debts and taxes and can sell property if it’s specified by the will or authorized by the court. 

Due to the criticalness of an executor’s duties, the probate court usually requires them to purchase a surety bond to protect an estate and its beneficiaries from any loss caused by their wrongdoing or fraud. However, this requirement can be waived in certain situations

How can a bond be waived?

The person who writes a will (the testator) can waive a bond. Accordingly, an executor will not have to give a bond if the court approves the waiver. If a descendent dies without a will, an executor may also be exempted from purchasing the bond.  

Additionally, if all persons eligible to receive a share of the estate waive the requirement of a bond, and the court approves the waiver, the personal representative will not need one. A guardian appointed by the court or an attorney must sign the waiver of bond for a minor or an incapacitated beneficiary.

Note that even if a will expressly waives bond, the court may still require an executor to have one if they reside outside California or for other good cause.

Should you consider one anyhow?

A bond protects beneficiaries from ill-intentioned executors – but it also insulates executors from mistakes. Executors who make errors that cost an estate money can be held personally liable for those losses. If there’s a bond, however, that bond acts as an insurance policy against losses to the estate.

Legal guidance can help personal representatives and heirs understand this matter in-depth.